Now he hasn't been rode since last October, and last year he was only ridden lightly due to worsening joints. The year before that I was still feeling fine and we rode a lot. I know this horse like the back of my hand and not ONCE has he EVER thrown so much as a crowhop. In preparation for selling, I refreshed him on all aspects of groundwork and he was and is a perfect gentleman. Absolutely no complaints there, I'm extremely pleased with his ground manners. He's intelligent, responsive, and a pleasure to work with.
He walks, trots, and canters all tacked up just fine on a lunge line without a rider. His mouth his fine. His feet are beautiful. I've checked him over head to toe for any signs of soreness or other issues. None whatsoever.
Yesterday an experienced gentleman came out to work him undersaddle for me, so that I could update interested parties on his current attitude exactly. Red was extremely light and responsive, moved out perfectly at a walk, transitioned into his gait, and did another smooth, rolling transition into a canter...
And that's when the rodeo started. One moment, collected, in tune - the next moment, he's doing the equine version of 'twist and shout' and has the nerve to prance off looking pleased with himself after unseating the rider.
Twice he threw the guy off, and not after one buck, after a good deal of bucking - this guy has a great seat but it's only so long before your balance goes out the window. He's a horse rider, not a bronc rider, after all.
I checked everything, tack, horse, the pasture itself. I worked him into a good sweat - this horse did not ride out full of nervous energy by any means. Still, he starts bucking like he's never been ridden before in his life! W-T-H!
I'm about 5'5 and weigh roughly 145, the rider is about my height and maybe a few pounds heavier with muscle. So it's not at all like there's a sudden, massive difference in weight or height of the rider. The guy also doesn't wear spurs when he rides him, nor does he use a crop or whip. Just reins, saddle, horse. Same stuff I rode Red in without issue.
I'm frustrated because I can't ride Red myself and appalled and saddened by the horrible behavior. Right now it looks to be just sheer laziness - not wanting to really have to work like he used to and trying to discourage the rider so he can go back to eating and being dormant. Arg.
Does anyone have any advice on handling this? I can't be on him myself, so it's totally up to the rider who no matter how experienced, is still a total stranger to this horse. I'm going out soon to do groundwork groundwork groundwork and I'm going to have Red ridden on a long line first before letting him try going out on his own again today. No round pen (been wanting one for years) which is a definite handicap but I've worked a lazy, broncy horse out in that very pasture before and he turned out just fine in the end. That was back when I still could ride...unlike now.
I don't know how many times I apologized to the poor guy for it...it was so utterly unexpected.